GALO: You shifted your energies in the midst of your career by taking a break from music and pursuing other interests like cooking and sailing. Can you talk about your motivations then for doing so? And you obviously kept up with your music because now you have released Everything Changes, an album that was 10 years in the making. What prolonged the making of this album, and did you feel any pressure or hesitation because it had been 15 years since the release of your last one?

JL: Where do I begin? Well, I decided to get out of the business because…listen, I love making music; I love writing and recording it and playing it live — all those things are wonderful. The business behind the music, the manipulation and the greed and the bullshit, is something that, I think if you speak to most sincere artists, nobody appreciates or wants to deal with or can stand. That’s why I ventured totally independently this time. I didn’t want to have to answer to anybody. I wanted to let the work and creativity speak for itself, and that was that. Either people like it or they don’t. They’ll either run it by word of mouth or they won’t.

For me, back then, I just got sick of the industry again. I got sick of the business because it was a situation where you could never really rely on anybody, you could never really trust anybody. Even the labels themselves at that time — people within the industry were getting fired left, right and center, so just as you built up a relationship with someone, thinking you had a shoulder to lean on, the next minute they would be gone. It was a very weird and difficult time.

So I decided that I wanted to pursue other interests. If I hadn’t gotten involved in musical photography, I would’ve been a chef. Food is one of my number one things in the world; I absolutely adore it and have been involved with several restaurants. I was living life a little bit, because when you’re on the treadmill of the music industry, you literally don’t have much of an outside life. You are really contained within the parameters of what’s needed within the contract — that means writing, recording, performing, writing, recording, and performing. It really is a treadmill. Some people enjoy that forever. That’s not something I enjoyed for extended periods of time, and I felt it was time for me to look elsewhere and see what else was out there. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have discovered photography the way I had. I feel fortunate and blessed in that regard.

The album took years because there was no time frame. I was not beholden to anyone or anybody’s contracts. It really was about writing material from the most organic standpoint, just letting things come if and when they felt right, without pushing any of the issues. I’d done songwriting before where I was sort of cornered and put in a room and had to come out of there in a few days with a few songs. I could certainly do it, but it’s not as much from the heart and the soul as I’d prefer it to be. So that’s why I decided to go fully independent, take my time, and do what felt right to me as an artist. And that’s predominantly what I’m sticking my guns to with these phases. Whether its photography, music, or anything I do, it’s all about doing it organically, naturally, and in the most creative way possible. From that standpoint, either people will love that or not. People can take that away with them or not, but in the most natural way possible. So that’s where I lean toward going in the future.

Video Courtesy of: Julian Lennon.

GALO: Describe what your creative musical process is like. Is there a strategy involved where it takes some time, or do you just wait for inspiration to strike you and then let the creative juices flow?

JL: There is no “process” — ideas come and go, some musical, some lyrical, and if they remain with me, or I definitely feel there’s more to them, then I play with the ideas until they come to fruition. It’s THAT simple.

GALO: You also had the release of your self-named app that lets fans view the documentary and listen to Everything Changes in an interactive way and with more content included. What were your motivations for presenting the content to your fans in this particular way, rather than having them purchase the documentary and buying your music through iTunes? Do you think it shows how technology might play a major role in the future in music?

JL: Well, no question about it, yes. Many musical works have been released through iTunes before. This app is released through iTunes as well as in other formats. The idea was that I was able to bundle a selection of work that I was doing and have them all in one place. People that are interested in what I’m doing, and what I’m up to, are able to have an app on their phone or any other device across platforms, and access pretty much anything and everything I do these days — and having that available worldwide and on most, if not all, devices, and also for it to be fully upgradable. So as soon as we make any changes or as soon as we decide we’re going to have a different version of this song or video, it will be uploaded and [fans will be] notified. The idea of that, I think, is pretty much every artist’s dream — to be in a situation where you do the work you want to do and put it out there, and then it’s successful immediately to your fans. I think there couldn’t be a better way for today’s clients.

GALO: How did director Dick Carruthers first approach you about the documentary, Through the Picture Window? A film had been made years ago of your music tour, so were you comfortable with the idea of being filmed and talking about your music?

JL: I approached him, as I’d seen his work with Noel Gallagher and liked his approach. I wanted something that would convey my story at this point in life, from the album, to photography, to The White Feather Foundation.

GALO: Aside from being a musician, you’re also a photographer. You first photographed Sean’s music tour in 2007 and have since grown from there.

JL: Yeah, I went on the road with him and took a few photos. So there were a few images that ended up in the exhibition from that time.

GALO: How do you go about choosing subjects or places to photograph? Do you always carry a camera with you or do you go out with an idea already in mind?

JL: No, these projects find me, I kid you not. For instance, like the U2 scenario, they asked me to come and take pictures of them while they were rehearsing and recording for this forthcoming album. The shots of Princess Charlene of Monaco — I was invited by her literally a day before to come and shoot those pictures of her 10 minutes before she was going to become a princess. And these are all things that have come to me through word of mouth and through the work that I’ve done. It’s bizarre. And apart from the travels that I’m going to be going on to Kenya and Ethiopia in the coming weeks for the White Feather Foundation, those are projects I’ll be working on — taking photos for and on behalf of White Feather, which hopefully I’ll have an exhibition for, and which, in turn, I’ll hopefully sell the images [on behalf of] White Feather to further aid those in need. I’ve been very fortunate in that respect. Photography seems to follow me as opposed to the other way around. I’m just happy to be involved in it.

GALO: Speaking of the White Feather Foundation, which supports the environment, you’ve launched from that the Clean Water Campaign, produced the documentary Whaledreamers and wrote with Steven Tyler the song “Someday,” which gives a hopeful outlook on our environment’s future. What sparked your interest in advocating for the environment and what are your hopes for its future?

JL: [Laughs] I think first and foremost, just open your eyes. I think if anybody doesn’t advocate doing something for environmental or humanitarian issues or values probably should be shipped off to another planet. I think it’s everybody’s duty and responsibility to take on the position and situation we’ve found ourselves in. That’s why, as an artist and as a human, I try to do whatever I can within the realms that I can to make this world a better place for those in need. I just find it a disgusting situation, with the amount of money and food that is in the world in this day and age, that we’re still in this position. Thank God for those humble artists and others who are doing whatever they can, no matter how little (because every little bit helps) — anything anybody can do is usually important. It’s something that should be at the forefront of everybody’s day and mind.

GALO: What’s in store for your future career in both music and photography? Do you have any professional or personal goals that you hope to achieve?

JL: Just to move forward and be as happy as I can doing so, and to help people along the way. That’s my goal. That’s all that matters to me, really. I’m fortunate enough to have a healthy life so far. I’m fortunate enough that I’m being able to do the things that I love to do, whether it’s music, photography, or the foundation. For me, it’s just a constant growth in all those areas and just trying to be a better person all around — that’s the most important thing for me.

Video Courtesy of: Julian Lennon.

Throughout 2014, Julian Lennon will be releasing videos for all 14 tracks off his album “Everything Changes,” which can be viewed on his YouTube channel. The app “Through The Picture Window” is currently available for purchase via the iTunes store, Amazon, and Google Play.

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Featured image: Musician and photographer Julian Lennon. Photo Credit: Deborah Anderson.